We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: screen time for kids has gotten out of control in this country. While the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time for children under the age of two and an upward limit of two hours a day for older children, studies have shown that many children spend double or even triple the amount of that allotted time watching TV or playing on electronic devices. Too much screen time and its potential resulting issues, including increased risks of obesity and behavioral issues, has obviously become an issue worldwide. In Taiwan, the government has decided to make the growing screen time addiction for young children a legal matter. A recently revised law named the “Child and Youth Welfare Protection Act” bans iPads and other electronic gadgets for kids under the age of two, and instructs parents of older children up to the age of 18 to limit media usage to a “not unreasonable” amount of time — although it doesn’t quantify how much time that would be. Parents found in violation of this law can receive fines upwards of $1,500.
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Of course, this legislation brings up several questions immediately. How will the government monitor and enforce this rule? Who gets to decide what qualifies as a reasonable amount of screen time for older kids? While the new legislation has already sparked much debate and discussion in Taiwan and around the world about the government’s place in the personal lives of its citizens, it serves as an important reminder that kids need to find alternate forms of entertainment and education, and that relying on a digital babysitter can have repercussions down the road as well as today.
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